Hundreds of tonnes of salmon stuck in trucks on a Norwegian quayside have been freed up after marine authorities ordered the shutdown of a major ferry company.
Three days ago the Norwegian Marine Directorate stopped the sailing of Boreal Ferries 41-strong ship and fast craft fleet, claiming the company had failed to report a number of potentially serious safety breaches.
These included damage incidents and a claim that a bow gate fell down on one vessel.
“You can imagine what could have happened if there had been people or a car there at the time,” said Dag Inge Aarhus, Communications Director at the Norwegian Maritime Directorate.
Boreal has a strong presence in the north of Norway where are a large number of salmon farms use their vessels to get their fish to market. Many of the island communities and fish farms in the region are virtually ferry dependent.
The suspension not only left many passengers unable to get off, but also up to 25 salmon-laden trucks waiting to drive on board. Salmon companies began to worry that their shipments could be held up for several days, affecting the quality of the fish.
Fisheries Minister Fisheries Odd Emil Ingebrigtsen, along with his opposite numbers at the Trade and Transport ministries, stepped in and asked Marine Directorate to try to find a stop-gap solution.
The result is that Boreal Ferries has now been granted a three month temporary operating licence in order to allow its vessels to move again.
It will also give the authorities time to hold talks with the company over the breaches.
Dag Aarhus said the action had been taken because of a number of issues. While agreeing that incidents do happen from time to time, he stressed it was the duty of ferry companies to report them.
Boreal Ferries has issued an apology and said it is putting an action plan into operation.